Sprouting Onions – Don’t toss them, plant them!


I love onions. I think they’re good in everything. I use onions constantly in my kitchen, so I always have plenty on hand. Sometimes I have too many, and they sprout in my pantry before I can use them. But that’s not such a bad thing, because I plant them and grow more onions.

Before I started my raised bed garden, sprouting onions and other kitchen scraps got tossed in the trash without a second thought. Now our kitchen waste goes into the garden instead of the landfill.

So here’s to yet another plant you can have fun growing in your garden space! But before you get started, here are answers to a few of the questions I had in the beginning…..

 

Do I need to separate the onion? 

This spring I tried planting cut bulbs and whole bulbs. Honestly, I can’t tell one from the other growing in the garden. From the ground up, all the green onions look the same. From now on, I won’t bother to separate the bulbs because they seem to grow fine either way. But you do need to make sure that roots are visible at the base of the bulb. See the tiny white roots growing from the bottom of the bulb?
 

Can I grow them in a container?

You can plant sprouting onions directly in the ground, in a deep container or in a raised bed garden. As you know, I grow mine in my raised beds. Plant just deep enough so the green shoots (sprouts) are not covered. So root base down, sprouts up.

 

Will I get a bunch of onion bulbs?

No, but you will get a bunch of green onions! Sprouted onions will produce green onions, not more bulb onions. This is because bulb onions are biennial, which means they grow and produce bulbs in one growing season. So when you replant bulbs that have started to sprout, their main purpose for growing is to flower and produce seed. They won’t produce another edible bulb. So if you love green onions, it’s still a win!  

Why are my green onions flowering?

As I mentioned earlier, sprouting onions have one main goal and that’s to flower and produce tons of seeds. So as the shoots get larger and taller, you’ll eventually see a flower head forming like the one in the picture above. You can still harvest the green onions to eat, or you can allow them to continue growing into beautiful and unique globe shaped flowers. Not only are onion flowers beautiful, they will attract tons of bees that will pollinate your garden.

When can I harvest my green onions?

I begin to harvest onion greens once they are anywhere from a few inches to a foot tall. I pretty much cut them when I need to use them. I typically add green onion shoots to omelettes, stir-fries, soups and salads. 

Simply enough, right? So give it a try. Get your hands dirty. Have fun. But most of all, find ways to grow along with the plants in your garden.

Tonya